In this next piece we see a woman who very much realizes the work she does and wants a voice about it. I can’t help but think this is true or this particular work wouldn’t have been selected to grace the pages of her book. I don’t know who wrote it, no credit is given, but she had a bone to pick. It’s idealistic but speaks to the hardships of women, while diminishing the efforts of men. I think her life must have been a difficult one, without much help or acknowledgment from her husband and Chastena must have shared her sentiment. Of course, it’s also possible that a man wrote this and saw the struggles women went through.
I’ve researched this poem and can find no copies of it or mention of it but the saying is certainly famous. Did that saying come from this long-lost poem? This makes it even more important to save. I realize the book, and blog, have become a preservation project not only for my grandmothers and my children, but for the public. Many of these works might be lost forever if not for people who cut them out and kept them back in the day.
The Woman Behind The Man
I’ve been a readin’ these months past‘Bout a man behind a hoe:An’ a man behind a grip-sackWith lots o’ snap an’ go!
Then the man behind the engine,An’ a man behind the ball,But one soul hain’t been mentionedThat you bet can beat ‘em all.
Right a gettin’ down to bedrock,If it hadn’t been for EveAll the hoeing Adam ever’d doneYou could put it right up your sleeve.
An’ I guess that poor old NoahWouldn’t thought it very fineTo hoe around his grapes all day,An’ mosey out to dine.
A’ then a comin’ right on downTo this ‘ere time o’ ourn,You’d find the men a sorry lot,Without their right-hand-bowers!
Who is it gets up with the larkAn’ cooks an’ scrubs an’ cleans,While way out ‘near the spreadin’ oakHer man rest on his jeans?
His work can wait, but her’s cannot,And while he hoes the corn,She does a hundred different thingsAn’ at 12 she blows the horn.
An’ when at night the hoin’s is doneAn’ lays down to rest,Who is it tired and weary-worn,Lulls the baby on her breast?An sews, a talkin’ low to Tom
How he must sleep, an’ growTo be a big, strong boy right soon,So he can help paw hoe.
An’ if perchance his country calls,The man drops his hoe to go,Who is it then picks up the toolAn’ finishes out the row?
An’ when, all battle-scarred and maimed,He comes back, one arm gone,Who is it hopes an’ sings an’ prays,A hoeing right along?
©Copyright 2010Ah! talk about your boys an’ menAn’ praise ‘em all yer can,But remember, the man’s behind the hoeAn’ the woman’s behind the man!